RIDGE WRITERS ON BOOK: ’Dear Teen Me’

By DONNA MCCROHAN ROSENTHAL

A fine concept beautifully realized, “Dear Teen Me: Authors Write Letters to Their Teen Selves” brings together 70 letters, each written by a favorite young-adult author, each accompanied by a teen photo of the person who penned it and each addressed to the face in the snapshot. Subjects include achievement, dating, loneliness, popularity, bad first kisses and worse choices, and aspirations that seemed hopelessly doomed.

Tom Angleberger illustrates his message with drawings in a comic. Faith Erin Hicks, in another comic, imagines her communication as a dialogue between her two selves: “Social media’s gonna be big! You’re going to want to invest in Facebook.” “What’s Facebook?” “We’re not sure yet. It’s either a great way to keep in touch with your friends, or the beginning of skynet and the end of the world.”

Tera Lynn Childs urges more enjoying and less agonizing: “Planning won’t determine your career… Planning can’t replace people or experiences… Next time you sit down to map your path out of town or to design your dream house, stop and look around ….in the end your path in life will come as a complete surprise anyway.”

In “9 Things You Need to Know,” Robin Benway warns an earlier her that “There’s going to be a period in your life where everything goes wrong. It just does. I’m sorry. Your grandparents will pass away. Your dad is going to die. You’ll become very sick and have to quit your awesome PR job at the bookstore. You’ll also get rejected from all your MFA programs on the same day. I can’t sugarcoat it” but “all these seemingly wrong turns are actually leading you in the right direction.”

Editors Anderson and Kenneally have added Q&A roundups (such as “What Was Your Most Embarrassing Moment?”) to this meaty collection of missives that carry readers along finding one anecdote after another that they identify with, and you will discover plenty — set in the pre-Internet years that offered fewer opportunities to meet someone who shared your interests.

If you were — or are — among “the head cheerleaders and the kids eating lunch in the library, the starting lineup, the benchwarmers, the glee club, and the marching band,” you will see yourself in these pages and they will illuminate — depending on your perspective — your past or your future.

This weekly column is written by members of the Ridge Writers, the East Sierra Branch of the Califor-nia Writers Club. Meetings are held the first Wednesday evening of each month at Ridgecrest Presby-terian Church, and free programs are offered throughout the year. Ridge Writers’ book “Planet Mojave: Visions From a World Apart” is available at Carriage Inn, Jawbone Station, the Historic USO Building, the Maturango Museum, Red Rock Books and online from www.planetmojave. com.

Story First Published: 2012-12-19